In this installment of the series, we delve into the roots of the DFW data center market and what the well-established players are doing today. We want to thank David Liggitt and the datacenterHawk team (www.datacenterhawk.com) for their significant contributions to this article and series.
The Dallas Infomart – 1950 North Stemmons Freeway
Built in 1985, the Infomart was designed to be one of downtown Dallas’ largest tech centers. This lineage enabled the distinctive seven story, 1.5 million SF facility to become a fiber connectivity nexus for over 70 carriers by the 2000s. Attracted by the high-performance connections and proximity to Dallas’ urban center, colocation providers leveraged the Infomart’s dense connectivity to serve their customers. Well-known data center and Cloud service firms such as Equinix, Cologix, zColo, Softlayer and Viawest currently operate significant data center footprints within the Infomart. Each of these providers offer a variety of colocation, managed service, cloud and interconnection services.
In 2014, the Infomart was officially renamed Infomart Data Centers due to a merger of Fortune Data Centers and Infomart Dallas. Since then, the new company has been upgrading various technological aspects of the building, with 3 MW of turnkey colocation space to be available June 2015. With these investments, Infomart Data Centers will continue to be a relevant, thriving ecosystem within the data center market for years to come.
2323 Bryan and Beyond – Digital Realty
Less than two miles away, Digital Realty’s 2323 Bryan data center in downtown Dallas shares a similar history. Digital used their well-developed wholesale data center model to convert the 477,000 SF office building to host data centers for smaller companies. Leveraging ample fiber providers and opportunities to grow, Digital Realty has attracted notable names such as CyrusOne, Telx, Equinix, and zColo. Like the Infomart, 2323 Bryan is now one of the most connected buildings in North Texas.
In addition to 2323 Bryan, the San Francisco-headquartered Digital Realty made significant investments in the DFW market, especially in the northern suburbs of Richardson, Lewisville and Carrollton. The colocation provider acquired the former Collins Radio Campus in Q4 2009, a 68-acre site in Richardson they later named Data Center Park Dallas. The site included an on-site, private substation that Digital Realty uses to lower power costs for tenants at the park. The company is currently building a new 138,000 SF Richardson facility at 907 Security Row. Several Fortune 500 users and colocation/cloud providers such as Data Bank, Rackspace, SoftLayer, and Verizon Terremark currently call the park home. The investment in Lewisville was also quite significant with a 2012 price tag of $123 million for The Convergence Business Park, a 168-acre multi-building campus totaling 819,000 SF of real estate. The campus tenants included robust private enterprise and a major data center operator which we will discuss later in this article.
Legacy Telecom Facilities
Several large telecom companies found sites in DFW they could develop themselves. For example, AT&T built their AT&T Internet Data Center in 2001 at the Millennium High-Technology Office Park in the northern suburb of Allen. Like their rival, Verizon has also constructed data center facilities in DFW and acquired more market share via its 2011 purchase of managed service and hosting providing Terremark Worldwide.
The standalone legacy facilities of big telecommunications firms still operate here, but with less relevance. This is due to so many carrier-neutral data centers and colocation facility options throughout the DFW market.
CyrusOne’s entrance into DFW was a presence in 2323 Bryan as a safe-distance/secondary footprint offering for its mostly Houston-based customers. CyrusOne’s real splash in DFW came in 2009 when it entered into a sizeable lease at Lewisville’s Convergence Business Park (now owned, as previously noted, by Digital Realty).
Selling enterprise colocation services at Convergence contributed to CyrusOne’s post-2010 growth. This led to its purchase of 1649 W Frankford, a 650,000 SF former warehouse for Home Goods. While this massive facility also includes their corporate headquarters, 1649 W Frankford will have 400,000 SF for technical space at full build out. CyrusOne has already developed and leased multiple data halls as it continues to move further into large retail and wholesale colocation. From its modest roots as a privately-funded data center upstart and Digital Realty tenant, CyrusOne has grown into a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), established public company (CONE), and a dominant player in the DFW market.
More to Come
In the next addition we will be focusing on new players and service models that have been entering the DFW marketplace. Stay tuned…